“My own situation gave me a reason to work with other children, whose basic rights were violated since birth, without a name or nationality,” said Francia, who is Afro-Dominican and had no birth certificate herself until last year. “Without a certificate, you are nothing.” she said.
Simon has helped 136 children obtain a birth certificate, go to school, and get health care, noted KidsRights, an organization based in Holland. She will receive a prize of $131,000.
Runner-ups included: 15 year old Tatiana (U.S.), who sends books to Africa to help children learn to read and write; 16 year old Getahun (Ethiopia), who set up a children’s parliament to protect children’s rights; and 14 year old Emmanuel (Rwanda), who teaches other children how to save money, so that they can pay their own school fees.
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